Biomech Motion Analysis System

This page provides access to software and data that may be used to analyze planar human or animal motion. The data supplied have been used in various research projects and student theses and are for research and educational purposes only. No commercial use of these programs or data files is granted without permission. These programs were originally written at the Kinesiology Department, University of Waterloo principally by Mr. John Pezzack and Dr. Gordon Robertson. Many others, including Dr. Herman Woltring, Dr. Richard Wells, Dr. Michael Pierrynowski and Mr. Walter Kuryliak, under the supervision of Dr. Robert Norman and Dr. David Winter, have contributed to their development.

Since 1980 the development of these programs has been under the supervision of Dr. Gordon Robertson, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa. New programs have since been written with the help of Mr. Don Bradley, Mr. Michael Marcoux and Mr. Edward Lemaire. As expected, software that has evolved over many years by numerous programmers (mostly on a voluntary basis) and programming styles is likely to have many hidden errors. Every effort has been made to deliver software that will run flawlessly on a suitable computer once the software has been installed correctly. Don't expect perfection and keep information requests to the author to an absolute minimum. Some documentation is available and we hope that you will find useful information among these many programs and data.

Contributed by D. Gordon E. Robertson, Ph.D. ( Please report problems and errors.

Links to most recent version at University of Ottawa:

Files on ISB web server (updated April 1998)

Access to updates to the software and other files may be obtained at the FTP site Use the ID "guest" with password "guest".

How to install the system:

To install, download the INSTALL.BAT and BIOMECH.EXE files listed above to a hard disk directory. The INSTALL.BAT file may have to be viewed by the browser software and then saved using the "Save As" option from the "File" menu. From the directory where the files were downloaded, execute the following command:


where "x:" is the name of the drive where the software will be installed. You will need, approximately, 5 Mbytes of disk space. Follow the directions given in the README.TXT file to complete the installation. The batch file, BIOMECH.BAT, requires that an ANSI.SYS driver be added to the CONFIG.SYS file but this is only needed to display colours in the program menu. If your monitor AND display adapter can use 132 column text mode (for example VESA mode 10a) you should modify the file VID_132.BAT to call the adapter's mode switching software. Some examples of this are in that file. Note, you MUST include the following statement in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:


where "x:" the the same drive letter used to install the software.

How to run the DOS software:

Several data files are included with the installation software, for example, WALK.DG and LONGJUMP.DG. To run these data through the system go to the subdirectory that contains the system, e.g., C:\BIOMECH, and execute the command: You will be presented with a menu of programs that can be executed. Keep in mind that the software must be excuted in a particular order as described below. First press "D" twice to view the raw data file graphically. Press "Q" to exit the graphical display program (IMAGER). Note, this program can edit your data, so be careful. Next you must execute the program, CINEDATA, to convert the data from digitizer units to real units. Press "C" to do this. Next press "K" when you have returned to the main menu to run the KINEMATICS program. After this program finishes you can view the "smoothed" data and the kinematics of the markers, segments, joint (relative) angles and total body (or partial body).

The results from each program are contained in ASCII files with the extensions, .OUT. For example, the KINEMATI.OUT file contains the kinematic results. All of these files have column widths of 132 and contain "form feeds" for printing. They may be printed to a suitable printer. For instance, on an HP LaserJet III choose font 1 to obtain 132 column output.

After running the KINEMATICS program, you may then execute any of the following programs:

The following programs operate on the unfiltered data files produced by CINEDATA. They may be run before or after the KINEMATICS program. Graphing of results can be realized by the included software but this is better left to spreadsheet software, such as, Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel. After running the POWER program you may plot the powers produced by the moments of force by selecting the "J" option and entering the filenames, WALK.GRA or RUN.GRA. These files are used by the GRAPH program to describe how to graph the joint angular velocities, moments of force and power. The graphs are stored with file exteniosn, .PLT. These are HPGL files that may be imported into presentation software (PowerPoint), graphics software (CorelDRAW) or word processors (WordPerfect or Word). The files used to graph results are contained in the subdirectory, \BIOMECH\GRAPHS.

How to install the data files:

To install the data directory, download the file Samples.exe (see above) to a suitable drive then issue the command:


This will dearchive the files into their associated subdirectories, ready for processing.

The following activities are included in the archive:

  • basketball layup and free throw
  • cart pushing up an incline
  • hurdling and sprinting (male and female)
  • jumping (various)
  • lifting
  • rowing (Gjessing ergometer and on water)
  • running
  • swim starting
  • walking (prosthetic, pathological and normal)

  • Many activities include both male and female subjects.

    Some data files may be run by the simulation program, SIMULATE, for example, the LONGJUMP.DG data file. This program computes the trajectories of the body markers based upon the takeoff parameters contained in the file, LONGJUMP.SIM, and the relative motions of the joints. The relative motions are produced by the KINEMATICS program and are stored in the file, LONGJUMP.DR. To change the takeoff parameters use the program, INTERACT (press "I"). Note, these programs can only be run on certain data files that use either a 10-segment model of the body (no feet or hands) or a bilaterally symmetric, 6-segment model. These data files will be under the subdirectory, \SAMPLES\SIMULATE\....

    Documentation and references:

    Several text files are available with the software. These may be viewed by pressing "H" and then selecting the appropriate file. Much of the theory and equations used to compute the results may be found in the following references:

    For kinematics (KINEMATIC program):

    Pezzack, JC, Norman, RW and Winter, DA (1977) An assessment of derivative determining techniques used for motion analysis. J. Biomechanics, 10:377-387.

    For mechanical energy and internal work analyses (ENERGY program):

    Martindale, WO and Robertson, DGE (1984) Mechanical energy variations in single sculls and ergometer rowing. Can. J. Appl. Sport Sci. 9:153-163.

    For computer simulation and angular momentum analyses (SIMULATE and MOMENTUM programs):

    Lemaire, ED and Robertson, DGE (1988) Validation of a computer simulation for planar airborne human motions. J. Human Movement Studies, 18:213-228

    For joint and segmental power analyses (POWER program):

    Winter DA and Robertson, DGE (1978) Joint torque and energy patterns in normal gait. Biological Cybernetics, 29: 137-142.

    Robertson, DGE and Winter, DA (1980) Mechanical energy generation, absorption and transfer amongst segments during walking. J. Biomechanics, 13:845-854.

    For kinematics, inverse dynamics, mechanical energy and power analyses (KINEMATICS, ENERGY and FORCE programs):

    Winter, D.A. (1984) Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movements. New York:Wiley Interscience.

    Remember when in doubt or trouble consult a knowledgeable computer guru and/or the supplied documentation before writing the author. Only email will be accepted. (

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